SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

New developments in research etc.

UK Government Using Manchester Attacks As An Excuse To Kill Encryption

It's no secret that there are those in the current UK government who are just itching to kill encryption. Earlier this year, Home Secretary Amber Rudd made some profoundly ill-informed comments about how encryption on the internet was "completely unacceptable" and saying that they needed to stop companies from providing end-to-end encryption. And, in the recently leaked Tory Manifesto, it was made clear that the current government sees breaking encryption as a priority.
READ MORE: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170524/23452737451/uk-government-usi...

Ubuntu for phones and tablets is dead.

Last month, it finally happened. Six years after its tumultuous switch from GNOME 2 to the homegrown Unity desktop, Canonical announced it was abandoning work on Unity. Going forward, the company will switch the default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME beginning with next year's 18.04 LTS release. This means Canonical is also abandoning the development of the Mir display server and its unified interface of Ubuntu for phones and tablets. The company's vision of "convergence," as Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth termed it, has officially died.
READ MORE: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2017/05/ubuntu-17-04-review-this-is-unit...

Silicon Valley security robot beat up in parking lot, police say

A 300-pound egg-shaped security robot was punched to the ground by an allegedly drunken man outside a Silicon Valley shopping center, Mountain View police said.

A 41-year-old Mountain View man has been arrested in connection to the alleged parking-lot altercation with the Knightscope-made droid. The accused robo-assailant, who faces charges of prowling and public intoxication, was identified as Jason Sylvain. The robot suffered minor scratches and is back on duty following last week's incident, which was first reported Tuesday by ABC7 News.
READ MORE: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/04/silicon-valley-security-robo...

Smart Cities Could Be Crippled by Dumb Security

Urban centers around the world increasingly drip with technology. But as a hack over the weekend reminds us, city officials mustn’t forget that cybersecurity is a critical part of adding smarts to the urban environment.

On Friday night, residents of Dallas struggled to get as much sleep as they might have liked. At around 11:40 P.M., the city’s hurricane warning system sounded: 156 emergency sirens, all screaming out in unison. It happened another 15 times, each burst lasting 90 seconds, until the alarms finally fell silent around 1:20 on Saturday morning.
READ MORE: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/604124/smart-cities-could-be-crippled...

Found in the wild: Vault7 hacking tools WikiLeaks says come from CIA

Malware that WikiLeaks purports belongs to the Central Intelligence Agency has been definitively tied to an advanced hacking operation that has been penetrating governments and private industries around the world for years, researchers from security firm Symantec say.

Longhorn, as Symantec dubs the group, has infected governments and companies in the financial, telecommunications, energy, and aerospace industries since at least 2011 and possibly as early as 2007. The group has compromised 40 targets in at least 16 countries across the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, and on one occasion, in the US, although that was probably a mistake.
READ MORE: https://arstechnica.com/security/2017/04/found-in-the-wild-vault7-hackin...

Hacker Group Releases Password To NSA's "Top Secret Arsenal" In Protest Of Trump Betrayal

Last August, the intel world was abuzz following the news that a previously unknown hacker collective, "The Shadow Brokers" had hacked and released legitimate hacking tools from the NSA's own special-ops entity, the "Equation Group", with initial speculation emerging that the Russians may have penetrated the US spy agency as suggested by none other than Edward Snowden. The Shadow Brokers released a bunch of the organization's hacking tools, and were asking for 1 million bitcoin (around $568 million at the time) to release more files, however failed to find a buyer.
READ MORE: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-08/hacker-group-releases-password-...

Why American Farmers Are Hacking Their Tractors With Ukrainian Firmware

To avoid the draconian locks that John Deere puts on the tractors they buy, farmers throughout America's heartland have started hacking their equipment with firmware that's cracked in Eastern Europe and traded on invite-only, paid online forums.

Tractor hacking is growing increasingly popular because John Deere and other manufacturers have made it impossible to perform "unauthorized" repair on farm equipment, which farmers see as an attack on their sovereignty and quite possibly an existential threat to their livelihood if their tractor breaks at an inopportune time.
READ MORE: https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/why-american-farmers-are-hack...

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